×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 889


The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

portable veblenWhether you appreciate economist Thorstein Veblen and his thoughts on conspicuous consumption (detailed in The Theory of the Leisure Class), or even if you have never heard of either him or his ideas, The Portable Veblen may be the book for you. 

 

The novel opens with a couple’s engagement. “Veblen Amundsen-Hovda, independent behaviorist, experienced cheerer-upper, and freelance self” becomes engaged to ”Paul Vreeland, MD, FAAN, FANA, FACNS (he loved the growing train following his name, all engines, and no caboose).”  Obviously, the two are very different from one another, but they are very much in love.  Veblen also loves nature and all things natural, and, in particular, a squirrel living in her attic, with whom she communicates.  Paul, who grew up with parents who were good hippies, does not love the squirrel and is trying to trap it.

 

The book is set in California and describes the contrasting cultures of money and anti-establishment values in an original way.  Veblen tries to live up to her ideals, “not just the conventional ones” finding her best self by studying Thorstein Veblen’s portrait and talking with the squirrel. (“If you love it enough, anything will talk with you” is the epigraph by George Washington Carver that begins the book.)  Paul’s intelligence and ideals lead him to a deal with the Department of Defense to work on his invention, a device that minimizes battlefield brain trauma.  Paul is talking with the government and big money.

 

The Portable Veblen is a small gem, a love story, delightfully well-written, full of ideas and humor. 

 

Another little gem with some similarities is The Sage of Waterloo: A Tale by Leona Francombe.  It is an original story, told by a rabbit, but full of history.  (Imagine Watership Down by Richard Adams, but much shorter.)  This tale is set in the fields where the battle of Waterloo was fought and contrasts natural beauty with the destruction of war.  

book

 
Comments List

Archive posts

Collapse all

Excerpts is the library newsletter and comes out every three months. It is mailed to every Glencoe resident. Copies of the newsletter are available online (below) and at the library. Please be sure to check the library calendar for program updates.

2019 Issues

June 2019

March 2019

2018 Issues

December 2018

September 2018

March 2018

June 2018

2017 Issues

December 2017

March 2017

June 2017

September 2017

2016 Issues

December 2016

September 2016

March 2016

June 2016

2015 Issues

December 2015
September 2015
June 2015

March 2015

2014 Issues
December 2014
September 2014
June 2014
March 2014

2013 Issues
December 2013
September 2013
June 2013
March 2013

2012 Issues
December 2012
September 2012
June 2012
March 2012

2011 Issues
December 2011
September 2011
June 2011
March 2011

2010 Issues
December 2010
September 2010
June 2010
March 2010

2009 Issues
December 2009
September 2009
June 2009
March 2009

2008 Issues
December 2008